Well I got some more materials to play around with, some more Xpac and some cuben fiber to try out. This was the first time I have ever seen or played with this stuff. My wife thought I bought a big sheet of waxed paper and was like your going to make a pack out of that? Then I handed her a scrap and told her to tear it, I myself was surprised by the strength of this material. It is some really some neat stuff. The one thing that I was concerned about is the puncture marks that are left from sewing. So I wanted to make sure that I made a pack that was going to minimize the stress to the seams of the cuben fiber. So I wanted to incorporate some Xpac material to give the pack some structure and protection to the high abrasion areas. Plus I don’t know that I have seen any other cuben fiber & Xpac backpack. The pack weighs in at a little over 10.5oz and has a volume of 2500 cu in.
I wanted to try and keep this pack as light as possible, but also be as durable as possible. I’m not always the easiest on gear, and want to make something that will last, but hey I am using $30 yd material so let’s try and keep it on the light side. So I made the main body out of the cuben fiber. I wanted to keep the seams in the cuben fiber to a minimum to prevent any tearing or fraying, so the only seams in this pack are where it attaches to the Xpac back and body. I also wanted to reduce the stress on the seams so I made the spade looking strap connect on the front to act as compression straps as well as reduce any pulling on the cuben fiber by itself which I hope will make the pack last longer. The straps coming off the spade are connected to a triangular piece of Xpac. On my previous packs I just sewed the webbing into the seams, which can be hard to sew through and all the stress of the strap is in that one area of the seam. By making the triangle strap connection piece it should spread the stress of the strap out a little. So when everything is tightened down it is really only Xpac pulling on Xpac.
I made the bottom of the pack out of 1 piece of Xpac, there are just two short seam lines on the two front corners to create a curved bottom. My thought for this was to reduce the number of seams which would help reduce weight, but will also help keep the pack more waterproof with fewer holes. It also makes the pack look less squared off on the bottom, which I personally like the looks of.
For the hip straps I came up with a different setup then what I have been using. I really just wanted to try something different and see what would happen. I used a piece of Xpac to create a 1 piece connection for the 1.5” hip belt webbing and the 3/4” shoulder webbing. I then used cuben fiber to give the hip pads some with and to create a pocket to stuff some socks in to add padding to the belt. One smartwool sock folded in half fits in the pocket nicely and adds some nice padding. I wanted to keep from having to use any Velcro or zippers so I put the pocket on the inside of the hip belt with the opening toward the back of the pack. This way the sock or towel should not be able to slip out.
In all I am happy with the way the pack turned out. Sure I could have left some items off the pack to reduce the weight, but I feel that the items that are on there serve a purpose. Please feel free to ask any questions about the design, methods and materials used.